Butch Davis Radio Show Quotes

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Injuries have plagued North Carolina's football program during the first two months of the 2009 season, but Butch Davis indicated on his radio program that Ryan Taylor has returned to practice and that Zack Pianalto is not far behind.

If you win the coin toss at the beginning of the game, what's the philosophy in taking the ball or deferring to the second half?
"A lot of it depends on several things. Is there a wind advantage? Is there going to be an inclement weather advantage in the first half or the second half? When do you want to have your extra possession? How do you feel about the matchup? Do you want to start off with your offense on the field or your defense on the field? So there's several different scenarios and we always just take a look at the matchups and see if there's any real deciding factors.

"[Look at] Georgia Tech – making them go into the wind isn't a major obstacle, because they're not ever really going to throw the football. But a team that's going to throw the ball, maybe a Boston College or an East Carolina, if there's a significant wind, maybe you want them to throw the ball into the wind."

Injury update on Ryan Taylor, Zack Pianalto and Jonathan Cooper:
"[Those are] three guys that we would like to have back, along with several other guys. It's kind of interesting, though. Ryan Taylor returned to practice today on a very, very minor limited basis. Full helmet and shoulder pads and nobody had to even help him get dressed and remember how to put them on. He went through flex-and-stretch and a few of the preliminary things that we do and we're gradually going to try to ease him back into some practice.

"Next week he'll probably get back into doing some of the individual drills and maybe some of the individual things where there's no contact. And then we'll just judge it. You never want to get any setbacks and we'll see after each one of those practices how much better he's actually feeling.

"An interesting thing with Zack Pianalto is that there is a young lady here in town. I am forever grateful to her because she is helping our football program immensely and she won a bronze medal in last summer's Olympics in the 10,000 meters. She lives here in town, but she's got an exercise machine that allows you to take your body weight off your body, because long-distance runners are using this apparatus. It's like the same stuff that astronauts do to take all of the weight off them.

"Basically, Zack is actually running on a treadmill on this machine and he was able to take – I think he weighs about 250 pounds – and he said they were able to take about 60 percent of his body weight which would have made him weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of about 115 pounds.

"So he was able to run full speed on a treadmill. He did it on Monday and he did it today and he's going to do it on Friday, and they keep adding bodyweight to the machine… We'd love to be able to acquire one of these for the athletic program, because it is clearly one of the most cutting edge technology things. But it's going to help Zack get back into running and hopefully maybe in the next week or so you might be able to see him return to practice."

Besides winning, what else factors into recruiting?
"Sometimes I think the factors are unique to each individual kid. How soon can I play? What kind of education am I going to get? What are the facilities like? What's my personal relationship like with the position coach that's going to be coaching me? Can the coaches and the program get me to the National Football League? Proximity to my home – how often are my family and friends and my high school coaches will be able to come and see me play? There's a long laundry list of things for every kid. And every kid is unique."

At what point during the recruiting process do you determine if a recruit has the academics to get into school?
"First of all, I'm not the one that makes that decision. We have an admissions policy and an admissions board that take a look at all applicants that go to the University of North Carolina. We start the process in the spring time prior to their senior year. We try to get a transcript. We try to find out if they've take the ACT or the SAT or the PSAT as a junior to try to get some sort of preliminary idea as what kind of score we think they can score during their senior year. What's their GPA? How far away are they from actually being accepted and being admitted into the university?

"We'll start from there and then we'll start following them in the fall and we'll start planning out how many of the core courses are they taking and see if their grade point is starting to climb and going up. Or, unfortunately, could it possibly be going down? Which sometimes is the case. You'd be shocked to find out how many kids have a 2.7 or a 2.8 and all of a sudden, everybody in the world starts recruiting them and they start to focus on recruiting and trips and football and the next thing you know, they don't pay attention to their academics and it starts to slide."

'Butch Davis Live' airs Wednesday evenings on Tar Heel Sports Network affiliates.

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